The ability to confine and store optical energy in small volumes has implications in fields ranging from cavity quantum electrodynamics to photonics. Of all cavity geometries, micrometre-sized dielectric spherical resonators are the best in terms of their ability to store energy for long periods of time within small volumes1. In the sphere, light orbits near the surface, where long confinement times (high Q) effectively wrap a large interaction distance into a tiny volume. This characteristic makes such resonators uniquely suited for studies of nonlinear coupling of light with matter. Early work2,3 recognized these attributes through Raman excitation in microdroplets—but microdroplets have not been used in practical applications. Here we demonstrate a micrometre-scale, nonlinear Raman source that has a highly efficient pump–signal conversion (higher than 35%) and pump thresholds nearly 1,000 times lower than shown before. This represents a route to compact, ultralow-threshold sources for numerous wavelength bands that are usually difficult to access. Equally important, this system can provide a compact and simple building block for studying nonlinear optical effects and the quantum aspects of light.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Collot, L., Lefevre-Seguin, V., Brune, M., Raimond, J. M. & Haroche, S. Very high-Q whispering-gallery mode resonances observed on fused silica microspheres. Europhys. Lett. 23, 327–334 (1993).
Qian, S. X. & Chang, R. K. Multiorder Stokes emission from micrometer-size droplets. Phys. Rev. Lett. 56, 926–929 (1986).
Lin, H. B., Huston, A. L., Eversole, J. D. & Campillo, A. J. Double-resonance stimulated Raman-scattering in micrometer-sized droplets. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 7, 2079–2089 (1990).
Braunstein, D., Khazanov, A. M., Koganov, G. A. & Shuker, R. Lowering of threshold conditions for nonlinear effects in a microsphere. Phys. Rev. A 53, 3565–3572 (1996).
Knight, J. C., Cheung, G., Jacques, F. & Birks, T. A. Phase-matched excitation of whispering-gallery-mode resonances by a fiber taper. Opt. Lett. 22, 1129–1131 (1997).
Chang, R. K. & Campillo, A. J. (eds) Optical Processes in Microcavities (World Scientific, Singapore, 1996).
Gorodetsky, M. L., Savchenkov, A. A. & Ilchenko, V. S. Ultimate Q of optical microsphere resonators. Opt. Lett. 21, 453–455 (1996).
Weiss, D. S. et al. Splitting of high-Q Mie modes induced by light backscattering in silica microspheres. Opt. Lett. 20, 1835–1837 (1995).
Lai, H. M., Leung, P. T., Young, K., Barber, P. W. & Hill, S. C. Time-independent perturbation for leaking electromagnetic modes in open systems with application to resonances in microdroplets. Phys. Rev. A 41, 5187–5198 (1990).
Zhang, J. Z. & Chang, R. K. Generation and suppression of stimulated Brillouin scattering in single liquid droplets. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 6, 151–153 (1989).
Cai, M., Painter, O. & Vahala, K. J. Observation of critical coupling in a fiber taper to a silica-microsphere whispering-gallery mode system. Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 74–77 (2000).
Lin, H. B. & Campillo, A. J. CW nonlinear optics in droplet microcavities displaying enhanced gain. Phys. Rev. Lett. 73, 2440–2443 (1994).
Ilchenko, V. S. & Gorodetskii, M. L. Thermal nonlinear effects in optical whispering gallery microresonators. Laser Phys. 2, 1004–1009 (1992).
Vernooy, D. W., Ilchenko, V. S., Mabuchi, H., Steed, E. W. & Kimble, H. J. High-Q measurements of fused-silica microspheres in the near infrared. Opt. Lett. 23, 247–249 (1998).
Bachor, H.-A., Levenson, M. D., Walls, D. F., Perlmutter, S. H. & Shelby, R. M. Quantum nondemolition measurements in an optical-fiber ring resonator. Phys. Rev. A 38, 180–190 (1988).
Silberhorn, Ch. et al. Generation of continuous variable Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen entanglement via the Kerr nonlinearity in an optical fiber. Phys. Rev. Lett. 6, 4267–4270 (2001).
Treussart, F. et al. Evidence of the intrinsic Kerr bistability of high-Q microsphere resonators in superfluid helium. Eur. Phys. J. D 1, 235–238 (1998).
Fan, X., Palinginis, P., Lacey, S., Wang, H. & Lonergan, M. C. Coupling semiconductor nanocrystals to a fused-silica microsphere: a quantum-dot microcavity with extremely high Q factors. Opt. Lett. 25, 1600–1602 (2000).
We thank A. D. Stone and R. K. Chang for comments. This work was supported by DARPA, NSF and the Caltech Lee Center.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
About this article
Cite this article
Spillane, S., Kippenberg, T. & Vahala, K. Ultralow-threshold Raman laser using a spherical dielectric microcavity. Nature 415, 621–623 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1038/415621a
Hybridization-induced resonances with high-quality factor in a plasmonic chipscale ring-disk nanocavity
Waves in Random and Complex Media (2020)
Nano Letters (2020)
Generation of Entanglement between Two Two-Level Atoms Coupled to a Microtoroidal Cavity Via Thermal Field
Quantum Reports (2020)